With the confirmed cases of swine flu in Qatar rising to 42 and many suspected cases under investigation, the health authorities have stepped up efforts to prevent a large-scale spread of the disease in the country.
The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) yesterday organised a seminar attended by healthcare workers from the public and private sectors, to keep the medical community updated about the country’s emergency plan to deal with a possible swine flu pandemic.
Dr Mohammed Al Thani, director of the Public Health Department and chairman of the National Preparedness Committee, disclosed at the meeting that 42 confirmed cases of swine flu had been reported in Qatar so far and all the patients had recovered from the illness. The cases include 19 new ones reported recently.
“The emergency plan put in place in Qatar has been working well and we have so far been able to prevent an outbreak of the disease in the country. However, we are preparing for a possible return of the virus in winter,” said Dr Ahmed Kamal Naji, assistant minister for health affairs at SCH, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the seminar.
He said Qatar had stopped reporting each confirmed case of swine flu in the country to the World Health Organisation following a rise in the number of cases.
“Every day we are getting several new suspected cases and the laboratory at the Hamad Medical Corporation is busy round the clock,” said Naji.
Speaking on “Healthcare system readiness,” Dr Abdullatif Mohammed Al Khal, consultant, Infectious Diseases, at HMC, said despite reaching WHO’s Phase 6 of the pandemic, the severity of the illness was not increasing.
“Impact is considered moderate by WHO; most people recover from infection without the need for hospitalisation or medical care. Overall, national levels of severe illness from A(H1N1) appear similar to levels seen during local seasonal influenza periods. Hospitals and healthcare systems in most countries have been able to cope with the numbers of people seeking care, although some facilities and systems have been stressed in some localities,” said Al Khal.
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